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Old 04-16-2011, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in Kentucky
3,790 posts, read 7,564,960 times
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I see the Optima batteries at many stores and noticed their exceptionally high price. Is their an advantage to having one or is a Die Hard or Interstate just as good? Is it because of the fancy looks? I am getting ready to need a battery for my Impala, is why I am asking.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: WA
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It is a different internal design that has very good performance and life. Important to many sportscar users is the fact that is does not have open vents so it will not leak or gas in high gee conditions. It is worth the price in some applications.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
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I had never heard of this! I'll have to pay more attention at the auto store next time. How expensive are they?
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:26 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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There are only 3 companies making all car batteries, Optima is unique and better for some cars but most are fine with Interstate. If you are not planning on keeping a car more than 5 years longer then save money and just get one at Sam's Club or Costco.

Car battery brands from Consumer Reports
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,295,271 times
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The Optima is an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. They're typically safer than the typical lead acid battery in which if they are dropped and broken they can contain most, if not all of the acid. Optimas are also supposed to last longer than a typical lead acid battery. The Absorbed Glass Matt construction allows the electrolyte to be suspended in close proximity with the plates active material. In theory, this enhances both the discharge and recharge efficiency. In my experience however, I actually got 4 years from an Optima and even longer than that from a Sears Die Hard. Go figure.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Where nothing ever grows. No rain or rivers flow, Texas
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It's a waste of money.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,662 posts, read 25,346,597 times
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When the optima battery was developed it was a nice battery. In the last 7 years or so Optima was bought by Interstate I believe. Interstate is a top of the line rated battery. The Optima has less than stellar reviews recently.
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:32 AM
 
33,143 posts, read 39,103,690 times
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Probably a waste of money in most applications but some cars and boats have their batteries in enclosed areas where normal battery venting can cause an explosion under some conditions, the optima batteries address this issue by not needing to vent.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:09 AM
 
10,871 posts, read 41,162,985 times
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The earlier Gates developed production Optima's had the ability to deliver a lot more energy at temperature extremes than an average lead-acid battery, and they had a lot longer service life.

I installed a lot of cosmetic blem Optima's in M-B diesels, where they gave much better cranking performance and service life than the MB 88 size battery that was OE equipment. At the time, the Optima battery was comparably priced to the MB 88 size battery, so it was a good value.

However, the standard Optima battery was susceptible to wearing out if it went through several complete charge-discharge cycles. So if it was totally drained ... as might happen if somebody inadvertently left a light on in a car, or didn't close a trunk lid completely, or had a constant drain on the battery (like an improperly wired in aftermarket radio amplifier) ... and then recharged, the battery was good for only several of these fully discharged cycles before it would not accept and hold a charge at all.

More recently, the Optima line has been sold and the quality has gone down while the pricing has gone way up. At the same time, the quality of conventional batteries has been much improved.

Unless you have a specific need for the "dry cell" Optima battery, there's no reason to justify it's substantial expense over a conventional battery in your car.

If you look at C-R's testing of battery performance, the standard retail batteries are pretty good performers for their price points. In my cars, I use them and typically get at least 7 years of service before they get marginal in cold or hot weather ... and I live in a climate where it's normal for over 6 months of cold weather service each year, with temps into the sub-zero range possible for days on end.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,116 posts, read 7,606,621 times
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If one is after an AGM battery, many of the 'brands', (all made by those few real manufacturers), offer AGM in many, but not all sizes.

Great for m'cycles, seldom used cars, (as theoretically they discharge more slowly), or in any car that has electronics under the battery situ.

Nothing wrong with 'wet cell' batteries either, for most car apps, imo.
An excellent tutorial on Batteries:

Battery Tutorial

GL, mD
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